Having the right paradigm shift as a freelancer can make or break your career — just like in most things in life.
In fact, one of the reasons why the career of other freelancers are short-lived is they’ve acquired wrong mindsets about freelancing, making it hard for them to grasp opportunities that are ever so prevalent in the industry.
Are you struggling with the same thing? With your career as a freelancer?
Have you decided to succeed as a freelancer despite your inexperience, however, and are ready to face all the struggles you’ll come across just to succeed?
If you answered with a “yes,” then allow me to share with you three freelancing paradigm shifts that you need to have — that could easily make or break your career.
3 Paradigm Shifts That Can Make or Break a Freelance Career
#1. Paradigm Shift: Work with One “Stable” Client. vs. Establishing a Pool of Clients
Others don’t even begin their freelancing career (despite them wanting to) for fear of the “instability” of it.
This is a common misconception of those that aren’t freelancing, yet — those who are still thinking of jumping the freelancing bandwagon.
And because they formulate wrong ideas about how “unstable” freelancing is, they end up not taking action.
In short, their career has just ended, even without them even starting.
Here’s the thing: Seasoned freelancers will tell you that freelancing is as stable as can be compared to other 9-to-5 jobs (others would argue that freelancing is more stable — I share the same opinion).
The key to stability is for freelancers to work with multiple clients — and not just one. (I know that’s redundant, but I did that on purpose to highlight the fact.)
Imagine, what if you’re working with five clients at the same time (which is quite reasonable for seasoned freelancers).
And the distribution of your earning from each client is a good 20% each.
What do you think would happen if one of your clients would suddenly end their contract?
You’d only lose 20% of your earnings, right?
Now imagine having a 9-to-5 job.
What do you think would happen if your company decides to lay off some of their employees (with you being one of the unfortunate’s ones that have been included)?
Yup. 100% of your income gone — in a snap.
Can you now see how stable freelancing is compared to a 9-to-5 job?
Warning: Learn to balance your time. While it is vital that you work with multiple clients — or at least, build a pool of clients — you might find yourself getting overworked.
The key here is to charge more.
When you charge more per hour (or per project), the lesser hours you’d have to work to attain your target earnings per month — all while still enjoying a bigger paycheck compared to those working longer hours.
#2. Paradigm Shift: Not Worth Getting Paid a Lot. vs. My Output is Worth the Value it Produces
Learning how to price their services is one of the many struggles of freelancers.
When it comes to judging how much you’ll charge for your services, don’t use your country, educational background, or other seemingly relevant factors — not to your disadvantage, at least.
Judge how much you charge based on the value you can bring to your clients.
If your services can bring your clients truckloads of leads or sales, then don’t bat an eye when charging premium dollars for your services.
After all, you are not a liability to them, if anything, you’re helping them earn more.
The mistake other freelancers make is they charge less just because they live in third-world countries (or some other weird reason).
Here’s a perspective.
Supposing there’s a freelancer who lives in Pakistan who charges $10 per hour. And for every hour the client pays the freelancer, he/she can bring $100 worth of sales for the client.
On the flip side of the coin, there’s a freelancer from a first world country who charges $100 per hour, yet, can’t even close a single sale for the client.
Do you think the pricing is justified just because both freelancers are from different countries?
Remember, regardless of which country you’re from, if you can bring heaps upon heaps of value to your client’s business, then don’t think twice about charging more.
Warning: Judging based on “value” can be quite subjective. I suggest that you do some market research to determine how others are charging for their services, with you examining things from a lens of “value.”
Learn about the dynamics of your prospective client’s business. Only by doing that will you be able to determine if you have the skillset to make an impact on your prospective employer.
#3. Paradigm Shift: I Cannot Compete with Thousands of Freelancers. vs. There are Hundreds of Thousands of Job Opportunities Online
Just because you’ve been ignored by your prospective clients, doesn’t mean you’re a failure.
Remember, it takes persistence, hard work, and grit to achieve something worthwhile — and having a successful freelancing career is worthwhile, indeed.
If you haven’t won your first contract, yet, don’t just roll over, think about how worthless you are, and give up.
There are thousands of other job opportunities out there.
You just need to learn proper brand positioning, learn where to find your prospective clients, and learn how to sharpen your approach and skills (among other things).
The more you persevere — while trying to learn and improve every single step of the way — the bigger your chances are of succeeding at winning those contracts.
Warning: When you consider how there are thousands of opportunities online, you run the risk of falling into the trap of going for the numbers game. “If I apply to hundreds of jobs daily, I am bound to land one.” (Sounds familiar?)
Don’t go for that approach.
Instead, I encourage you to go for the numbers game AND make sure that you keep on polishing your approach every single time.
Employing the numbers game is dead-easy. That’s why a good number of spammers freelancers are doing it.
Those who are truly successful, however, take the time to polish their pitch regularly.
Others will tell you that freelancing is a risky business.
While there is some truth to that — since you can’t fully avoid risks in almost just about everything — you’d have to ask yourself if anyone is truly “safe” nowadays with all the large companies closing down, laying off, or retrenching their people. (Buzzfeed, Apple, you name it.)
The truth is, no one is “safe.”
If you’re working with only one company, that is.
Those in the freelancing scene, however — those who know what they’re doing — are currently experiencing a level of security by establishing a pool of clients whom they’re working with.
Should one end their contract, they have a handful more that they’re working with (or can work with).
Have you been operating in the freelancing realm for quite some time now?
What are some strategies and pointers you can share with our readers to help make their budding freelancing career as stable as can be — let alone successful?
Feel free to add your ideas in the comments section below.